Show Up and Lift Up
Posted Oct 21, 2018 by Jacquie Robison
This photo was taken on a recent morning as my 9 year-old daughter headed off to ballet lessons at DTC-San Francisco. She ended her lesson with her peers --- all neuro-typical kids --- with a tremendous sense of accomplishment and was fired up to create a list of poses to work on before the next rehearsal for their Nutcracker performance.
But, the reality is that this moment was launched many years before, when I met the founder of Tutu School; the incredible Genevieve Weeks. This fierce momma did not hesitate when I shared Sofia's CP diagnosis and talked about her interest in ballet and wondered whether there might be a space for my girl in some capacity. Genevieve looked me in the eye and told me that Tutu School was about inspiring a love of dance and of moving one's body. And she said there was most definitely a spot for Sofia.
During that program, the other parents were equally amazing when I needed to (very often) join in on the floor to assist with Sofia's standing or transition between moves. There were no grumbles about slowing down the class or this not being what they expected. I probably didn't do a great job of telling them how important that was for me as Sofia's mom. I was too busy marveling at the beauty of this experience of inclusion.
But I can say now that because of their open spirit, I grew my voice as an advocate for Sofia. For me, that has never been about demanding or yelling ... but about meeting people and opportunities where they are and looking for the way forward. Together.
It certainly led me to step up to the notion of launching a non profit that, among other programs, provides free personality-forward walker capes for children who use assistive devices.
Those experiences fueled my resolve to approach the amazing people at DTC-SF -- Julianne Spratlin and Kristin Long -- who opened their hearts to Sofia with the same grace as Tutu School had.
I feel so strongly that we need to give our children -- all our children -- permission to show up to their lives. No matter their physical differences and their challenges. Show up in the world. Be seen. Be You. Because, that gives our children permission. Permission is purpose.